Coffee and Tea

November 26, 2003

Some countries have a coffee culture (like the US, with a Starbucks on every corner), while other countries have a tea culture, where it is the primary hot, caffeinated beverage. The US, along with Italy, France and Germany are examples of coffee countries. China, England, Japan and Russia are tea countries.

Why certain countries prefer one beverage over the other appears to be a function of trade routes, colonial exploits and geography. Tea spread out from China, which is the oldest and second-largest producer of tea in the world. India is the largest.

Coffee was first harvested in Africa and first roasted in the Middle East. Today, Brazil and Columbia are the largest coffee producers, followed by Indonesia, Vietnam and Mexico. The American preference for coffee is likely linked to the Monroe Doctrine and a preference for trade with countries in the western hemisphere.

Is there any correlation between cultural attitudes and whether a country is a coffee or tea country? Do coffee-drinking cultures tend to share certain traits and characteristics while tea-drinking cultures share others?

Posted by Andrew Raff at November 26, 2003 11:16 AM
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Hmmm. It's odd that England is a tea drinking country in homes, but in public it's a coffee country. It is impossible to get anything other than a strong acerbic brown tea from shops and cafes (including the prevalent Starbucks).

Posted by: Chris on November 30, 2003 06:24 AM